KFOR to be reduced to 5,000 troops

NATO is going into the second stage of reduction of its military presence in Kosovo to 5,000 troops, Priština-based Albanian language daily Koha Ditore writes.

Quoting NATO sources, the daily points out that the decision was prepared by the NATO Council bearing in mind suggestions and analyses of military authorities.

“Consent of the countries taking part in KFOR is still awaited in order for the decision to become official,” the daily wrote.

At this stage NATO will reduce number of peacekeeping troops in Kosovo to a little over 5,000. They explained the decision with the fact that overall situation in Kosovo had improved and that there was no need for 10,000 troops.

NATO needs less but more mobile troops and aside from that KFOR is not the only security subject, there are also EULEX police and Kosovo police which are taking over some assignments from KFOR, Koha Ditore stressed and added that NATO would keep a sufficient number of troops in order to ensure safe and stable environment in Kosovo.

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Italian Admiral Giampaolo di Paola told the daily that members of the Council had been convinced during their last visit to Kosovo that conditions for reduction of number of troops had become ripe.

There were 50,000 NATO troops in Kosovo in June 1999 and their number was gradually reduced to current 10,000.

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